Berkshire Award going to 6 honorees who have contributed much to Berkshires


PITTSFIELD -- The co-founder of the Berkshire Natural Resources Council, a history professor and a family of philanthropists will be honored by the Berkshire Museum with the Berkshire Award at a ceremony in March.

The honorees are George Wislocki, the first executive director of the Berkshire Natural Resources Council; Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) professor Frances Jones-Sneed and the Nash family.

The honorees were chosen for their contributions in creating, keeping and promoting artistic, historical and natural heritage in the Berkshires, according to a statement released by the museum.

Wislocki assisted the late Donald B. Miller, the former publisher of The Berkshire Eagle, in founding the Berkshire Natural Resources Council (BNRC), a charitable land conservation organization, in 1967. Wislocki served as the organization's first director and was its president until his retirement in 2001.

The BNRC has protected more than 19,027 acres of land, including nearly 2,000 acres of woodlands that belonged to the Frederick Crane family of Dalton as well as Olivia's Overlook and Yokun Ridge. Wislocki worked with hundreds of landowners to help negotiate agreements to conserve the land.

The Nash family, including Suzanne, her late husband Kenneth and their three children -- Leo, Mitch and Seth -- are being recognized for their longtime support of the Berkshire Museum, Community Access to the Arts (CATA), the Colonial Theatre, IS183, Jacob's Pillow, MASS MoCA, Tanglewood, and WordxWord. Seth and Mitch own the Pittsfield-based design and manufacturing business Blue Q. Leo is a lighting designer in the film industry and was a guest curator on the museum's current exhibition, "Objectify: A Look Into the Permanent Collection."

Jones was an associate editor on the book "African American Heritage in the Upper Housatonic Valley" and is currently working on books about two significant African-American individuals from the Berkshires, W.E.B. Du Bois and Rev. Samuel Harrison.

She received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for her project, "The Shaping Role of Place: An African-American Biography," and led an NEH Summer Institute on "The Role of Place in African-American Biography."

She is a former co-director of the Upper Housatonic Valley African- American Heritage Trail Advisory Council, and helped create the first African-American Heritage Trail in western New England. She serves in the Samuel Harrison Society and the Friends of the Du Bois Homesite Committee. She served on the board of Mass Humanities.

Currently, Jones-Sneed is facilitating a year-long NEH-funded series of talks, films, performances and discussions at MCLA called "Creating Equality."

We are proud to recognize, for the second year, a group of individuals who have made a significant contribution to preserving our cultural and natural heritage here in the Berkshires," Berkshire Museum Board of Trustees President Bill Hines said in a statement. "The Berkshire Museum is dedicated to exploring art, history, and natural science, making the presentation of the Berkshire Awards a natural outgrowth of our mission."

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